The Vatican expressed concern Friday over the landslide victory by Hamas in the Palestinian elections, although a top Vatican official in the region expressed hope that moderates within the movement would prevail.
"The victory of Hamas throws a cloud over the peace process," read the front-page headline in Friday's editions of the Vatican official newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano.
The Vatican's custodian for the Holy Land, Franciscan Rev. Pierbattista Pizzaballa, said "there are many reasons to be concerned" about the Hamas victory.
He also urged Israel to react wisely and "not take quick decisions and give time to the Palestinian world to organize themselves."
Another Franciscan in the region, the Rev. David Jaeger, was more pessimistic in an interview with Vatican Radio, saying the concern by Israel and the international community was justified, "seeing as we're dealing with an essentially theocratic movement that is adverse by vocation to liberal democracy and intent on the creation of an Islamic order."